Day 97: Home Hearty Goodness
Okay, it seems like a skipped ahead, but really, I started this on Instagram, so I’m just following up here.
One of my favorite restaurants in Okinawa is not the sushi-go-around. Trust me, it’s plenty fun to watch, but I don’t like sushi. Or fish. Or rice really.
I know, what kind of Filipino, let alone Asian period doesn’t like rice? Scandalous and slightly sacrilegious :O
But there’s little soba spot in American Village (Yes, it is a thing. A very odd touristy, yet lovable thing made up of restaurants and shops) and even though I’ve eaten my way up and down this island, I can’t find anything else that beats the soba in this place.
The restaurant (I honestly don’t know the name of this place, most things you find in Okinawa are by location and description, i.e. the spot by the pirate ship on the beach has really good shaved ice. Yep) in itself is nothing spectacular and is very geared towards tourists (If you see English, this is your sign), but if you’re looking for a hearty meal at decent price, this is the spot.
Okinawan Soba is unique unlike it’s often cold and stringy counterpart on the Mainland (There’s a difference between Okinawa and Mainland Japan, but I’ll get to that another time) because it’s got thick slurp-worthy noodles in a hot rich broth, topped with scallions, fish cakes (I know I said I don’t like fish but I find foodstuff paired with the word cake acceptable), and a slice of fatty Okinawa Pork with the proper pork to fat ratio. This is important because I am all about texture and some soba places serve way too much fat with their pork and I find gelatinous globs of fat hard to ingest from time to time. But to each their own.
Another reason I love coming to this place is their tonkastu, aka, fried pork cutlet. It’s very similar to German schnitzel and believe me I would love to omnomnom away on schnitzel and spaetzle, but I’ll settle for tonkastu and soba. Again it’s about texture and ratios, and this place tops with the appropriate ratio of fried panko to pork with crispy crunchiness and little sogginess (I really can’t stand fried foods that get soggy and bleck). Another thing about this place is unlike other places on the mainland or even on Okinawa, the serving sizes are ridic. Even when I order the small version, which includes a bowl of rice, a bowl of soba, side cabbage salad, and 5 thick slices of tonkastu (All for under $10) I still struggle with finishing everything on the plate.
I get that ramen places are tricky but within reasonable access on the West Coast (And on every corner in Honolulu, seriously dude), but man, I wouldn’t know where to start looking for a soba place, let alone a decent one back stateside.